In my personal opinion, dads have it made. When they parent it's called "helping," they're best known for their bad jokes, and they're usually only called upon if someone needs to reach something on the highest shelf. Of course, not all fathers are aloof parenting partners, but our culture still fails to expect a reasonable amount from dads. So there are a lot of meanings when dad asks, “What do you want me to do?” and, rest assure, the majority are all about their infamous laziness perpetuated by a society that still views moms as the primary caregivers.
Take my husband, for example. There are currently about four clean glasses in my cupboard. Everything else, and I mean literally every single other dish, is dirty. Two weeks ago, I did a few loads of dishes (on top of the laundry, which I always do, and all my other random household tasks). I waited for my husband to finally do something about the pile of dishes, but here I am, two weeks later, eating a sandwich off a paper towel “plate.” And when I bring up the obvious mess in the kitchen, he responds with “What do you want me to do?” as though it were that difficult to figure out.
Now, of course my husband isn’t all bad (otherwise I would’ve ran for the hills a while ago), but he’s got this occasionally clueless dad schtick down pat. But just like any other "problem," the first step is admitting there is one. So if your parenting partner is slacking, yet constantly asking what to do, here are just a few things they really mean, so you can reply accordingly.
“I Know What To Do, But I Rather You Do It So I Can Keep Watching TV”
More than likely, dude-man is watching something on TV. Whether it’s a football game or C-Span or Big little Lies, your beau is really into it. Why would they want to go empty the Diaper Genie during a season finale? Big nope.
“I Could Do That, But It Would Totally Interrupt This Video Game And I’m Not At A Save Point”
Video games are an even lamer excuse, but one that is frequently used. If you make the mistake of asking your significant other to help out with anything while they’re in the depths of Call of Duty, you’re never going to make any progress. Your partner isn’t about to give up the game simply because your kid can’t find their shoes.
“I’m Actually Really Lazy And I Know If I Lay Here Long Enough You’ll Get Annoyed And Do It Yourself”
I mean, I can’t say I haven’t just thrown my hands up in the air and accomplished a task solo. Sometimes I'm just too exhausted to continue to ask for some assistance.
And, to be fair, this parenting thing is very exhausting, so if my partner is tired, I get it. But here's the thing: I am tired, too.
“Could You Just Give Me A Full, Detailed List Because I’m Too Busy Trying To Figure Out The Science Behind The Upside Down In ‘Stranger Things’?”
Oh. I’m sooooo sorry. I didn’t realize that Jim Carrey documentary takes precedence over the need for un-expired groceries in the household. If only I’d known.
Oh wait. This is BS.
“I'll Do It I'll Just Do It On My Own Time”
Claiming ignorance is one of the best ways to get out of doing anything. In fact, I think the only other way to get out of work is to do a horrible job the first time around, so no one wants you to do anything again. Yeah, I'm on to you guys.
“I Hate Doing What You Want Me To Do So I’m Just Going To Avoid It Altogether”
Look, no one likes cleaning the toilet, or putting gas in the car, or changing light bulbs, or reading the same book to their toddler a million times in a row, or changing diapers, or waking up in the middle of the night to do another feeding, or whatever else needs to get done. But dads, have some damn consideration. Did y’all forget us moms carried a child for nearly 10 months in our bellies, or that we stayed up every single time our kid was sick to catch their puke, wipe their sweat, and change their diarrhea-ridden diapers? Like, for real, y’all. Get it together.
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